Patrick Collins, Inc. v. Does 1-2590

Filing 67

ORDER by Judge Maria-Elena James denying 54 Motion to Dismiss; denying 54 Motion for Protective Order re: Doe Defendant at IP Address (cdnS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/1/2011)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 Northern District of California 8 9 PATRICK COLLINS, INC., No. C 11-2766 MEJ 10 Plaintiff, v. 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 DOES 1-2,590, 13 ORDER DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE MOTION TO QUASH (IP ADDRESS Defendants. _____________________________________/ Re: Docket No. 54 14 15 On June 7, 2011, Plaintiff Patrick Collins, Inc. filed this lawsuit against 2,590 Doe 16 Defendants, alleging that Defendants illegally reproduced and distributed a work subject to 17 Plaintiff’s exclusive license, (“Real Female Orgasms 10”), using an internet peer-to-peer file sharing 18 network known as BitTorrent, thereby violating the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101-1322. Compl. 19 ¶¶ 6-15, Dkt. No. 1. On September 22, 2011, the Court granted Plaintiff’s Application for Leave to 20 Take Limited Expedited Discovery. Dkt. No. 12. The Court permitted Plaintiff to serve subpoenas 21 on Does 1-2,590’s Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) by serving a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 22 45 subpoena that seeks information sufficient to identify the Doe Defendants, including the name, 23 address, telephone number, and email address of Does 1-2,590. Id. at 11. Once the ISPs provided 24 Does 1-2,590 with a copy of the subpoena, the Court permitted Does 1-2,590 30 days from the date 25 of service to file any motions contesting the subpoena (including a motion to quash or modify the 26 subpoena). Id. 27 Now before the Court is a Motion to Quash, filed by a Doe Defendant, identified by 28 IP Address, requesting that he be allowed to contest the subpoena without revealing 1 his personal identifying information.1 Dkt. No. 54. In his motion, the Doe Defendant argues 2 generally that joinder is improper in this case, that the Court lacks jurisdiction over him, and that 3 venue is improper. As to joinder, the Court considered this issue at length in its previous order and 4 found that Plaintiff presented a reasonable basis to argue that the Doe Defendants’ actions in this 5 case may fall within the definition of “same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or 6 occurrences” for purposes of joinder under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a). Dkt. No. 12 at 6- 7 11. As the present motion presents the same generalized arguments addressed in its previous order, 8 the Court finds it without merit. 9 As to jurisdiction and venue, the Court finds that a motion based on these grounds is also 18, 2011); Call of the Wild Movie, LLC v. Smith, No. 10-0455, 2011 WL 1807416, at *9 (D.D.C. 12 For the Northern District of California premature. See, e.g., New Sensations, Inc. v. Does 1-1,745, 2011 WL 2837610, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Jul. 11 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 10 May 12, 2011); Voltage Pictures, LLC v. Does 1–5,000, No. 10-0873, WL 1807438, at *8 (D.D.C. 13 May 12, 2011). Rule 12(b)(2) permits defendants to move to dismiss for lack of personal 14 jurisdiction. Although the Doe Defendant moves the Court to dismiss the action against him for lack 15 of personal jurisdiction, he is not yet a defendant. If and when Plaintiff names him as a defendant, 16 he will be able to raise this defense. Once Plaintiff amasses enough evidence and names the Does, it 17 1 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), a magistrate judge has jurisdiction to hear and decide nondispositive matters without the consent of the parties. A motion to quash is normally considered a non-dispositive matter, Arista Records, LLC v. Doe 3, 604 F.3d 110, 116 (2d Cir. 2010), and therefore, the undersigned has jurisdiction to rule on the Defendant’s motion(s) to the extent they seek to quash Plaintiff’s subpoena. In addition, a magistrate judge has jurisdiction to consider the question of whether joinder of unserved defendants is proper, including whether unserved defendants should be severed and dismissed from the action, because defendants who have not been served are not considered “parties” under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Neals v. Norwood, 59 F.3d 530, 532 (5th Cir. 1995) (holding that magistrate judge had jurisdiction to dismiss prison inmate’s action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as frivolous without consent of defendants because defendants had not been served yet and therefore were not parties); see also United States v. Real Property, 135 F.3d 1212, 1217 (9th Cir. 1998) (holding that magistrate judge had jurisdiction to enter default judgment in an in rem forfeiture action even though property owner had not consented to it because 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1) only requires the consent of the parties and the property owner, having failed to comply with the applicable filing requirements, was not a party). Here, Plaintiff has consented to magistrate jurisdiction and the Doe Defendants have not yet been served. Therefore, the Court finds that it has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) to decide the issues raised in the instant motion(s). 2 1 will then have the burden to present a prima facie case supporting personal jurisdiction over 2 defendants. See Harris Rutsky & Co. Ins. Servs., Inc. v. Bell & Clements Ltd., 328 F.3d 1122, 1129 3 (9th Cir. 2003). At that time, the Doe Defendant may present his affidavit asserting that he has 4 never engaged in business with Plaintiff and that his activities with the forum state do not meet the 5 requisite minimum contacts to establish personal jurisdiction. With evidence from both sides, 6 jurisdiction will be decided on a full record. At this time, however, without any named defendants, 7 the motion is not yet ripe. The motion is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE and may be brought 8 again once Plaintiff names the Doe Defendant as a defendant or when the Doe Defendant has 9 identified himself. 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 Dated: December 1, 2011 _______________________________ Maria-Elena James Chief United States Magistrate Judge 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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